If you want to become a police officer in the UK, then you will need to pass the police interview. The police interview is one of the most important stages of the assessment process, and is based around your values, motivations and knowledge of the constabulary that you are applying to join, and your knowledge of the core competencies. In this blog, we will teach you everything you need to know about what this interview involves.
Police Interview Format
As of 2016, the police interview has been updated. You will now be asked 4 questions in total, each with a time limit of 5 minutes maximum. This means that the total length of your interview will be 20 minutes, and you can expect the assessors to stick rigidly to this. Since you will likely be taking the police interview at the assessment centre, the interviewers will have a great number of candidates to see, and therefore it’s important that they are organised and keep to the time limit.
What type of questions will I be asked?
There are 2 types of questions in this interview, and you will be asked 2 questions based on each. The topics are:
-Your values, knowledge and motivations for wanting to join the Police Service.
-Your knowledge of, and ability to demonstrate, the core competencies.
The 2016 update to the police interview now means that over the course of 4 questions, you will need to demonstrate your competencies in both sets of questions. There are 6 core competencies in total. While you won’t be expected to make use of every single one during the police interview, you need to show them as much as you can. So, what are these core competencies? Allow us to explain.
Police Officer Core Competencies 2016
Along with the police interview, the Police Service core competencies have also undergone an update in 2016. The core competencies now comprise of:
Public Service. This means that you are someone who recognises the importance of serving the public, and understands the impact that your level of service has on them.
Service Delivery. This means that you can actually deliver a fantastic service, based on your knowledge of the above.
Professionalism. This means that you are someone who acts professionally, ethically and responsibly at all times, in order to establish a good relationship with the community that you are working in.
Decision Making. This means that you are someone who is capable of making sensible, logical and well thought out decisions, which are in the best interests of public safety.
Working With Others. This means that you are someone who is capable of working as part of a team, is able to lead and be led, take criticism constructively and work with colleagues to achieve the team goals.
Openness To Change. This means that you are an adaptable person, who copes well with changes to your requirements or work expectations, and is always looking to improve and learn new, up-to-date methods of policing.
Police Officer Values and Motivations
The first two police interview questions that you will be asked will be centered around your values and motivations. What this means, is that the assessors will be asking questions based on topics such as how well you know the constabulary you are applying to, your knowledge of police work in general and the reasons that you are applying for the role. You will be expected to use the competencies as a platform for your answers. For example, if you are asked why you want to become a police officer, do not answer with, ‘I want to ride around in a car with the blue lights flashing’. Answers like this will not gain you any points. Instead, looking at the list of competencies above. Let’s use the first one – Public Service – as an example. A good answer to this question will tell the interviewers that you are applying because you care about delivering a great service to the British public, and that you want to make a difference by reducing crime in the area. Thus, you can already see how it’s possible to use the core competencies in your initial answers. Another popular method that the assessors might use is to question you on the importance of a selected competency. For example, you might be asked to explain why you think professionalism is important for police officers. The key here is not to just tell the assessors why you think it’s important for police officers, but to tell them why it’s important to YOU. If you can show that your own values and motivations are in line with those of the police, you will stand a much better chance of getting a job.
Let’s take a look a sample police interview question. Write out your own answer to this question, and then click on the answer tab to compare it with our sample response.
Tell us why you want to become a Police Officer?
Answer: Professionalism is a fundamental aspect of all police behaviour. In order for police officers to conduct themselves in an exemplary fashion, they will need to act professionally at all times.
Police officers are role models in society, and need to set a great example to the public. Professionalism means treating everyone you meet in a fair and equal manner, and having respect for diversity. Not only does this apply to the way that you treat members of the public, but your colleagues too. As a result, professionalism can have a positive impact on other essential elements of police work, such as working as a team. We should always aim to treat others in the way that we would like to be treated. By acting professionally, we can ensure the respect of both the public and our peers, and improve the quality of the Police Service.
In regards to my own values, professionalism is a quality to which I always give high priority. I have always tried to conduct myself in an exemplary manner during work periods, and this also extends to my personal life. I understand the impact that acting professionally can have on my relationship with others, in particularly with members
of the public.
As someone who has worked in the customer services field for most of his career, I am 100% committed to serving and aiding the public. Acting in a professional manner is an essential element of this, as it is the best way to show the public that you are someone who can be trusted and respected. In the past, I have taken a professional attitude to a number of different customer service related issues, and have discovered that this contributes massively to solving any issue. This included dealing with unhappy individuals, and preventing difficult situations from escalating further.
I believe my own views towards professionalism and the way that I should behave are perfectly in line with those of the Police Service, and that is just one of many qualities which would make me a great asset to your service.
Competency Based Questions
The final 2 police interview questions will be competency based questions. These type of questions will require you to give a detailed account of how you have demonstrated a particular core competency in the past. For example, you might be asked to give an example of when you have used your teamwork skills to solve an issue. In order to answer this type of question, you should use the STAR method. What is the STAR method? Allow us to explain:
Step 1 – Explain what the situation was and who was involved. You should go into detail here about the SITUATION and try to include keywords and phrases from the core competency that is being assessed.
Step 2 – Now move on and explain the task that you had to complete. Again, go into detail about the TASK that was set by either yourself or by others.
Step 3 – You should now focus on explaining what ACTION you took and also what action other people took when trying to complete the task.
Step 4 – Towards the end of your response to the interview question, you will need to explain to the interview panel what the RESULT was following the action that you took. You should try very hard to make sure that your response here is positive.
Now, let’s look at a sample competency based question. As before, try to construct your own answer before clicking on the answer tab to compare it with ours.
Give an example when you have used teamwork to resolve an issue
Answer: When I was working in my previous company, I was assigned the role of team leader on a number of occasions. This was a difficult job, which required me to make important decisions, on a whole range of issues.
On one occasion that I can remember, my team was assigned a task to complete within a very short time frame. The task in question was to organise the catering for a hosted event, to take place on the Friday of that week. The current day was Monday. To make things worse, at the time, at least 4 out of 5 members of my team were off sick/on holiday. As a result, I was working with a makeshift team. I had never worked with these individuals before, and therefore I had a very limited idea of their skillset. I knew that we had to be efficient and organised if we were going to complete this task to the best of our ability, and therefore I quickly took control.
The first thing that I did was to sit each member of the team down, with a brief of the project, and assign roles for each individual person. I assigned roles based on the individual strengths and weaknesses of each person, and how I believed they would best fit with the task. While it was important that we did this properly, it was also essential that we established roles very quickly, as the task needed to be completed at a rapid pace. I made sure that every member of the team was happy with their role, and fully understood exactly what they were being asked to do.
After we had assigned roles for each person, we quickly set to work with tackling the project. Along with supervising and making sure that each member of the group was doing their job, I was responsible for working out the logistics of the operation. In order for me to do this, I liaised with another team leader within the company, who had previously worked with the venue in question. Using his advice, I was able to discover the exact requirements that we needed, without wasting time trying to get through to individual exterior parties.
With the help of my team, I ensured that we were fully prepared and that the event went as planned on the Friday. Following the event, I rang the main customers for whom we were organising the catering, to garner their feedback. They were extremely pleased with the level of service they had received and informed me that they would use our company again. Finally, I sat the members of my makeshift team down, thanked them for their hard work and had a short feedback session. This allowed me to generate positive and negative advice, which could be taken on board for future projects.
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